Solar-powered car by Cambridge University Eco Racing team.

Cambridge University Eco Racing’s solar-powered car, Endeavour, has officially been launched by F1 star Jenson Button. The car was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Previously codenamed “Bethany,” but launched under its official name, “Endeavour”, the car is being touted as Britain’s brightest hope for the Global Green Challenge – a grueling 3,000km race straight across the Australian Outback this autumn.

The solar-powered car cruises at 60mph using the same power as a hairdryer. Named after the famous ship with which Captain Cook sailed from England to Australia, the car’s power comes entirely from solar energy captured by a 6m² covering of high-efficiency silicon cells. Underneath this solar “skin,” however, the car is essentially an ultra-efficient electric vehicle, which designers say could provide a model for other forms of green transportation.

The Endeavour weighs just 170kg and its creators estimate that it requires up to 50 times less power than a normal petrol-fueled vehicle. Its creators hope that the innovations in Endeavour’s design will enable it to put in the best ever performance by a UK-manufactured vehicle, even though the team will be up against university and corporate teams that boast seven-figure budgets, dwarfing the students’ own self-raised corporate funds of about £250,000.

Via: CUER [Press Release]